Main Stage Series continues growth

Double bill features well-know acts

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The Sumter Opera House Main Stage Series continues to add shows to its 2017-18 season. City of Sumter Cultural Manager Seth Reimer has announced a twin bill for an Oct. 13 concert and a return engagement for Camden native Patrick Davis.

Both bands on the twin bill, the Quebe Sisters and the Malpass Brothers, can trace their musical roots to traditional American genres, he said.

The Quebe Sisters - pronounced Kway-bee, according to their website - have been playing traditional Texas music - Western swing - from an early age; they started playing fiddles together as pre-teens, and they're still in their 20s.

The Quebes entered fiddling contests from an early age and won several local, state and national awards. They've also released three recordings: Texas Fiddler in 2003, Timeless in 2007 and Every Which-a-Way in 2014.

Additionally, they've appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Ryman Auditorium, on NPR's A Prairie Home Companion, on The Marty Stuart Show and other programs.

All three sisters, Hulda, Sophia and Grace, sing as well as playing fiddler and are known for their vocal harmonies. They will be backed on stage by their rhythm section of guitarist Simon Stipp and Daniel Parr on upright bass.

Reimer said the sisters also play vintage country, bluegrass, jazz and folk music.

"They're extremely talented," he said. "I've heard them play, and they're interactive with the audience. They played the Newberry Opera House last year, and they were a big hit."

The Malpass Brothers, Christopher and Taylor, on the other hand, will present a concert of traditional country music - think Hank Williams, senior not junior; Johnny Cash; Merle Haggard; George Jones and others of that era. Inspired as kids by their East Carolina grandfather's old phonograph records, the brothers have been widely praised for their authentic sensibility and sound.

Reimer said, "The first time you meet the Malpass Brothers it doesn't take long before you realize they are as close to real traditional country music artists as you can get these days."

He said the brothers are genuine country singers.

"They're just as they appear," Reimer said. "The way they look and dress, it's not an act, something they put on for a show. They're among the few genuine classic country artists under 50 - and they're under 30. They're truly who they are; it's not a charade."

While the Malpass Brothers admire Merle Haggard and play a lot of his music - Haggard's family gave them the rights to perform it - they also play their own original music, Reimer said.

"They toured with him," he said. "They don't come with a play list; what they play will be driven by what the audience wants."

"October 13 will be a night that's not to be missed," Reimer said.

University of South Carolina alumnus Patrick Davis, a Camden native, will return to the Sumter Opera House with his Midnight Choir on Saturday, Oct. 21. He's described as "a singer, songwriter, artist and storyteller" and has lived and performed in Nashville for the past 16 years.

The Midnight Choir is Davis' 11-piece band comprising instrumentalists and back-up singers. The name of the group comes from the Leonard Cohen song, "Bird on the Wire": "Like a bird on the wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free ... ."

Davis has released four CDs and has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe. More than 50 of his songs have been recorded by such artists as Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Jimmy Buffet and others.

While tickets for the Main Stage Series go on sale to the public on Aug. 14, the Sumter Opera House is now offering a membership program that will offer access to ticket purchases three weeks in advance of public sales. Reimer said the program offers four levels of membership to individuals and businesses, each with special benefits, including ticket discounts, special event invitations, listing in playbills and more.

He also said memberships can be customized, "tailored for whatever package members want."

The costs of bringing nationally known talents to the Opera House are not totally covered by ticket sales, Reimer said, adding that memberships will enable him to book these acts that would usually play in much larger venues.

"Because of the relationships I've built (with other venue managers), I've had the opportunity to book acts like John Anderson, who sold out," Reimer said. Also because of the Opera House's size and location, he said, "There's no reason for us to have a 'season.' Instead, we can have shows year-round."

Read more about the Main Stage Series at www.SumterOperaHouse.com, where there is a link to become a member. See the chart on this page for details of the different levels of membership. Call (803) 436-2616 for more information.